(Also, Don’t Worry About It, There’s Always Tomorrow)
My son Deej is pretty good at resolutions and has been since he was about 12 years old and decided he didn’t want to be dead last on every heat of the training exercises in basketball practice. He stayed late and did extra sprints, he quit drinking soda, and he put his plate in the sink after one helping of dinner. He was determined to make a difference and knew he had only a few months to accomplish his goals.
That is the only time I remember him making more than one adjustment at a time, though. He has at various times quit drinking soda, eating candy, using tobacco or alcohol, started exercising, quit taking a second helping at dinner, and any number of habits he wanted to start or stop. As someone who has struggled with overeating, gambling, drinking, prescription drugs, not to mention procrastination and general inability to finish anything, I marveled at his success.
I mentioned this to him one day, about six weeks into his latest no-soda phase (now about a year old). And he said, “Mom, you always try to change everything at once. You quit drinking, go on a diet, start an exercise plan, and launch a new business all at once…”
The kid knows me. But that’s a topic for another post.
Let face it, a lot of us view that magical moment when December 31 becomes January 1 as some point where all things are made new and all things are possible. If you’re like me, you’re a blank slate sort of person, and you want to 2019 be your fresh start. My message for you is two-fold.
First, as I learned from Deej, choose one area on which to focus. Whether you want to start something or quit something, make one change at a time and do it because you want to.
As someone who will not be celebrating her 49th birthday later this month, but will nevertheless have one, I have never regretted learning something new, and that is a resolution that is much easier to keep. Instead of going on a diet, try taking up a new hobby or taking a class at the community education center or library.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you can start over any time. Not just at midnight, not just January 1.
If you blow your diet at breakfast, eat better for the rest of the day. If you don’t get all of your steps in on Tuesday, do it Wednesday. You don’t have to wait until Monday.
If you quit drinking and then go out after two weeks and get hammered, keep trying, and ask for help if you need it.
If you swear off cursing and drop the ‘F’ bomb in some highly inappropriate place (aren’t they all, really?), apologize and set aside 15 minutes every morning to work on your vocabulary.
You can and should keep trying to be a better you. I can and should keep trying to be a better me.
For information about an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near you, click here, or check your local yellow pages.
Mary Kunst lives in Forsyth, Montana with her husband, uncle, dad, two sons, her dog, and her dad’s dog. She is an expert on nothing, but has made a lot of mistakes and at almost 49, is starting to figure some stuff out.